19 Jul 2008
MPs Peak Oil report out - and the Peak Oil grief cycle
Before I get into these T-shirts and food miles, some good news - the House of Commons All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil (APPGOPO) has published its first report. The report, 'The Impact of Peak Oil on International Development', urges policy makers to look on post-disaster relief operations as opportunities to build truly sustainable low-carbon communities. It demonstrates how non-fossil fuel dependent energy generation, construction and farming methods will be essential if communities are to become resilient to energy price rises. Read the report here.
It quotes a recent UNESCO statement: "The status quo is no longer an option. We must develop agriculture that is less dependent on fossil fuels, favours the use of locally available resources and explores the use of natural processes such as crop rotation and use of organic fertilisers" and agrees that ".... The food crisis is set to deepen if modern agriculture remains reliant on fossil fuels..."
The page 16 section on Resilient food production advocates "independence from external suppliers of seeds, fertiliser, pesticides and water, .... builds resilience and stronger local economies, health and wellbeing." Interestingly it appears to concur with the view that
‘External Input’ agricultural models of Green Revolution and genetic engineering technologies fare poorly compared with ‘Internal Input’ ecological agriculture, where productivity is based upon biodiversity and full and efficient utilisation of biological resources.."
The report is a timely acknowledgement that after the end of cheap oil and gas, business as usual is not an option. Nor can GM technology ever replace time honoured ways of working with nature (as discussed previously on this blog).
Kubler-Ross grief cycle
I was sent the link to the T-shirts above re Kubler-Ross applied to the death of the Petroleum Age. This made me smile but also concerned - the truth is that most people seem to still be in the denial stage when it comes to Peak oil. See this link: www.cafepress.com/crashdummy/4002007
Plus check out Matt Simmons on an American TV show - the reality is beginning to dawn:
Safety and Food Miles
Meanwhile I was pleased to see reports that Caroline Lucas, Green MEP called for end to the ‘great food swap’ and urged food sovereignty at a conference in London hosted by the Royal Society of Medicine and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. In a talk entitled 'Safety and Food Miles', she called for an end to the inefficient, oil-dependent system of intensive global food production which stifles local economies, threatens human and animal health, and harms the environment. Here is some of what she said: “As little as 18 months ago, when I carried out research on food security in an era of Peak Oil, the subject was regarded as a marginal issue. Yet today, food security is at the top of the political agenda, driven by high oil prices, poor harvests, the impacts of biofuel cultivation, and higher demand from countries like China and India. Many countries are vulnerable to food shortages because of a dependence on imports. The UK, for example, currently relies on imports to provide almost one third of food consumed, giving us one of the lowest self-sufficiency rates in the EU. Our global food system is staggeringly inefficient and heavily dependent upon oil, at a time when the production of energy from fossil fuels is on the decline. So not only is the dependence on imports damaging for national food security and harmful to the environment, it is simply unsustainable.”
Dr Lucas also warned that intensive, industrialised agriculture could be playing a role in spreading disease. Recent avian flu outbreaks, for example, have shown the extent to which the export-oriented corporate model of poultry production may be responsible for the spreading of strains such as H5N1. She concluded: “A re-localisation of our food systems would allow us take back control of our food from industrialists and financiers, and to feed a growing population in a way that is equitable and sustainable, while safeguarding human health, as well as the welfare of animals and the environment. The Green vision is one of healthier citizens, where everyone has access to a good diet, of thriving local farmers, reinvigorated rural economies and communities, and a cleaner, safer environment."